Nano thin-film composition analyzer (ntf-ca) for in-situ characterization.

Development of small-scale, low cost nano thin-film composition analyzer (ntf-ca) for in-situ characterization.

Identification and significance of the opportunity (motivation): The vacuum coating technology ( VCT) is the process in vacuum environment where the thin film is deposited on the substrate from the atomic or molecular vapor source. Over the past twenty years, vacuum coating technology technology has developed from an idea in a laboratory to the second most popular method of coating component services. With its distinguished features of precision coating and environmentally friendly technology, VCT was quick to capture the attention of various manufacturing industries. From traditional hand tools to the exponentially growing microelectronics industry, products treated by VCT are everywhere. Although the average person rarely thinks about it, thin-film coatings, used on a wide variety of industrial and consumer items, are an important part of one’s daily life. The wide range of applications and the variety of coating technologies lead to high demand and market value, especially in an industrially developed region such as North America, Europe and Asia. Companies in these regions are facing unique industrial market characteristics and tougher competition and are looking for more tools to characterize the product. In this proposal we offer such a solution to in- situ characterize fabricated thin-films. The vacuum environment is used to create pure condition for the vapor flow and to control the partial pressure of the inert and reactive gases. This vacuum coating technology consists now of large number of the processes: sputter deposition, thermal evaporation, arc vapor deposition, laser ablation, chemical vapor deposition, ion planting. The purity and the stoichiometric composition of the thin film is very important for the quality and the final performance of the thin film. In the present vacuum coating process there is no direct in-situ thin film composition characterization due to technological limitations or restrictions between the coating process and the characterization tool requirements. In the present vacuum coating technology the thin film is characterized after the process is completed which increases the time of the final product fabrication and quality control. Due to these reasons the is a need for in-situ thin film characterization tool to speed up the thin-film development process in R&D lab or perform quality control on running production coating system. Project Summary and Challenges: In the proposed development we want to design, fabricate and test new Nano Thin-Film Composition Analyzer (NTFCA) based on Auger electron spectroscopy for in-situ characterization of deposited thin film on the reference sample in vacuum or low pressure coating system. The use of reference sample makes this characterization independent from the operating process and less interference to the existing process. The independent of the characterization system and vacuum isolation will be done by using speciality developed differential pumping system and sample handling mechanism. This NTFCA system will be small scale with one access port to the deposition system, fully automatic and operator friendly. In addition, the NTFCA system will be equipped with ion sputtering gun to perform compositional depth profiling. The optional storage of reference samples for fast sample exchange will be also developed. The main challenges of this project are to develop the “vacuum isolation” and the “electrical noise isolation” between the deposition system and characterization tool. The high sensitivity of the Auger electron spectroscopy in small scale instrument is also big challenge. NTFCA will be compatible with coating technology such as evaporation, magnetron sputtering, laser ablation, chemical vapor deposition, arc vapour deposition, ion implantation. The elemental composition and purity of the deposited film will be measured in-situ in order to quickly analyze the deposited film for the purity and stoichiometric composition.
Project ID: 
11 235
Start date: 
Project Duration: 
Project costs: 
410 000.00€
Technological Area: 
Nanotechnologies related to electronics and microelectronics
Market Area: 

Raising the productivity and competitiveness of European businesses through technology. Boosting national economies on the international market, and strengthening the basis for sustainable prosperity and employment.